Many of my colleagues have been shaking their heads in utter confusion over the past few months, on the heels of President Obama’s direction to suspend deportation proceedings for “young people” who came here illegally as children, but who have remained in the U.S. since that time.
Now, the claims that “I’ve been here since I was little” are more common than sunny days in Southern California. Why all the confusion?
Well, for starters, how does any law enforcement official investigate a claim or statement, when many times no evidence exists to support such a statement but nor does any evidence exist to disprove same?
Considering that a majority of illegal immigrants use, proliferate the use of, fraudulently obtain and/or outright produce counterfeit identification and/or immigration documents, what documents are we supposed to use to establish any of the newly minted requirements necessary to qualify for “prosecutorial discretion?”
The guidelines lay out the use of auxiliary documents such as school records, financial records, health records, and others in order to establish certain timeline requirements which are required to remain in the U.S., free of any additional scrutiny.
However, none of those auxiliary documents are produced to any specific and/or unifying government standard and those types of records are so vastly different in terms of production value, appearance, quality, and industry-standard benchmarks typically ssociated with establishing identity and/or residence, that an entirely new market for counterfeit documents has just been born.
It’s important to keep in mind that 99 percent of those ‘auxiliary’ documents don’t even contain a photograph for comparison, leaving the officer to wade through a morass of data, while doing his/her best to pose questions sufficient to dispel any doubts about the data’s validity.
For example, a 23-year-old El Salvadoran national with no prior U.S. arrest record — who illegally crossed the border two months ago — could easily then obtain all the aforementioned “auxiliary” documents necessary to not only escape prosecution, but remain at large indefinitely.
Of course, this is provided he’s not arrested, booked and/or convicted of a crime sometime down the road, and therefore firmly establishing a full set of fingerprints into the system.
Most of us are familiar with the rule of threes: a suspect arrested for most crimes has probably committed that same crime at least three times before being arrested by a patrol officer. We hope the same rule doesn’t apply to murder, rape, kidnapping, and assault, but in some instances, the rule still holds true.
But, through all of this, most of us have chosen to mitigate the confusion the only way we know how: hit roll-call, go 10-8 and get to work.
It’s the best therapy I know of. Unfortunately, changes like these are not unknown to any of us who have been in this business awhile. Who among us hasn’t suffered occupational heartburn over adverse circuit court and/or SCOTUS decisions, policy changes, citizen’s rights groups?
It seems that all of us in this business are born to compete in the hurdle event, finding ways to get the job done right without falling flat on our faces. But I’m confident that most of us aren’t going to let those types of setbacks stop us from putting in jail those who belong in jail.
Stay safe and persevere.